Titans Underdogs Once More As They Face Chiefs In AFC Title Game

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The Tennessee Titans are one win from their first Super Bowl appearance in 20 years, and they look to complete a rare postseason road trifecta Sunday in Kansas City, where they face the Chiefs in the AFC title game at Arrowhead Stadium.

Similar to the first two rounds, the Titans are clear underdogs ahead of their showdown versus the second-seeded Chiefs.

We checked four online sportsbooks available in various states (and potentially coming to Tennessee soon): FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, and PointsBet. They all currently have the Titans as 7.5-point underdogs, with PointsBet moving off its opening line of Chiefs -9. FanDuel is the only one of the four offering the standard -110, whereas DraftKings and BetRivers have the Titans as a -120 pick to cover versus the Chiefs at -103 and PointsBet is offering the Titans at -115 to cover and the Chiefs at even money.

The moneyline also has a wide range, with the Titans getting anywhere from +265 (BetRivers) to +290 (FanDuel). The offers for picking the Chiefs straight up to win range from -335 (DraftKings) to -370 (PointsBet).

The over/under has a range between 51 and 52 points, with PointsBet at 51 and offering -115 for the over and -105 for the under, FanDuel offering -115 for the under at 51.5 points compared to the over at -105, and both DraftKings and BetRivers offering -110 on either side of 52 points.

Titans look to ride workhorse Henry to Super Bowl

Tennessee shook up the AFC playoff picture for the second straight week Saturday, following its upset of defending Super Bowl champion New England with a 28-12 victory over top-seeded Baltimore as 10-point underdogs. Derrick Henry continued his spectacular run with a playoff career-high 195 yards on 30 carries and also added a jump touchdown pass a la Tim Tebow to help put the game out of reach.

Henry has rushed for 1,273 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry in his last eight games, a surge that started with Tennessee’s 35-32 victory over Kansas City in Week 10. In that game, Henry rushed for 188 yards and a pair of TDs, including a 68-yarder, as the Titans rallied from a 29-20 fourth-quarter deficit. Ryan Tannehill threw a go-ahead touchdown pass to Adam Humphries with 23 seconds to play, and Joshua Kalu preserved the victory by blocking Harrison Butker’s 52-yard field goal on the final play of the game.

While Henry has dominated the headlines, Tennessee’s defense has also been quietly effective in both victories. Though the Titans were outgained 530-300 in yards, many of the yards the Ravens accumulated were empty ones. Tennessee forced three turnovers that led to 14 points and has scored 21 points off its five takeaways in the two postseason victories.

Mike Vrabel’s team could potentially beat the last three NFL MVP winners en route to the Super Bowl, as the Titans bested 2017 winner Tom Brady in the wild-card round and likely 2019 winner Lamar Jackson ahead of their showdown with 2018 winner Patrick Mahomes.

The Titans are also looking to become just the fifth team in NFL history to win three playoff road games to reach the Super Bowl, joining Green Bay (2010), the New York Giants (2007), Pittsburgh (2005), and New England (1985). They have not been to the Super Bowl since 2000, with their lone AFC title game appearance in that span a 41-24 loss to Oakland in 2003.

Second playoff win over Chiefs in three seasons?

In addition to this season’s win, the Titans also rallied from a 21-3 halftime deficit to win 22-21 at Kansas City in the 2018 wild-card round.

Marcus Mariota, who was benched in favor of Tannehill midseason, started the comeback by catching his own batted pass for a touchdown. Henry, who had 156 yards, rumbled 35 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter before Mariota hooked up with Eric Decker on a 22-yard touchdown toss with 6:06 to play for the go-ahead points.

Tennessee lost its previous two playoff games against Kansas City when the franchise was located in Houston, 20-17 in double overtime in the 1962 AFL title game and 28-20 in the divisional round in 1994. The Chiefs have not been to the Super Bowl in 50 years since defeating Minnesota in Super Bowl IV, losing conference finals to Buffalo in 1994 and New England last year.

Photo by The Tennesseean /  USA Today Network

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Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has been a sportswriter with ESPN, The Associated Press, and STATS over more than two decades. He recently expanded into covering sports betting and gambling around the Midwest.

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